Match preview: Iran vs Portugal

Iran needs a victory against Portugal, to

seal progression to the knockout phases

for the first time in their history. Team

Melli showed plenty of spirit despite losing

1-0 to Spain. Iran set up defensively

frustrating La Roja, and could have come

away with a famous draw had Saeid

Ezatolahi’s goal not been chalked off for

being offside thanks to VAR.

Mehdi Taremi has been one of Iran’s stand

out players in the two group games and

the Al Gharafa striker will have to play

well if his country is to reach the round

of 16. Stationed on the right wing of a

five-man midfield, Taremi put in a

disciplined performance against Spain

working hard defensively whilst being a

threat on the rare times they went on

the attack. 

As for Portugal, they just need one point

to book their place in the round of

sixteen. Portugal has Ronaldo to thank

for their 1-0 victory over Morocco. The

Real Madrid star came  up with an

important header early in the first half

in what was otherwise a lacklustre

performance against Morocco.

Now, Portugal will face a real challenge in

breaking down Iran who will be relishing

trying to halt the 2016 European

Champions. More interestingly, Iran is

managed by Carlos Queiroz who took

Portugal to the 2010 World Cup he will be

well placed to know how to outplay

Portugal in Saransk.